Five Panda Pointers: Stepping outside of your career comfort zone

Mar 28, 2018 1:37:00 PM

Should you step outside of your career comfort zone? Sometimes, we get quite comfortable with the day to day aspects of our careers that we don’t realise we’re in the career comfort zone! 

It’s not a terrible place to be by any means, but does getting too comfortable in a role because of certain aspects put your overall career goals on hold? Could it even put your career goals on hold completely?

Stepping outside of the career comfort zone can help your career for the better! In our latest panda pointers, we’ll explore the five steps to taking big strides in your career!

1) Ask yourself: what are you comfortable with in your career?

The first thing to do when determining if you are indeed in the career comfort zone, is to ask why. What aspects of your career are you really settled with? Here’s a quick list that show some examples of things people easily get comfortable with in their work routine…

  • The commute: A busy and long commute isn’t something most people would get comfortable with. If the commute is quick, easy and comfortable then it would be very hard to consider anything else.
  • Location: This ties into the commute, but you could very easily get settled into a routine when you get so used to your work location. How many times have you ended up getting lunch in the same place every day of the week?
  • Day to day responsibilities: It’s easy to get so familiar with the tasks you carry out every day that you don’t realise you’re not challenging yourself.
  • Team/Management: This is a great thing to be comfortable with – after all, you don’t want to be clashing with the people you work with every day! However, is there a way to speak up and challenge the norm in a constructive way? You’d be surprised how willing people are to listen to new ideas!

As mentioned, being comfortable with these things isn’t a bad thing in the slightest…but are there any of these (or something not covered in these examples) that you could potentially push yourself on?

2) Ask yourself: what are the negative aspects of your career?

So, you’ve determined why you’re in the career comfort zone…but is there anything you’re not addressing because you’re fine with other things in your day to day work life?

It could be that there are aspects on this list that others might put on their ‘comfort’ list. For example, everything is fantastic, but the commute is really letting you down sometimes. You’ll need to think long and hard about this list – look at everything you’re comfortable with and what improvements can be made to that. You’ll hopefully see that there are things that do require some work to help your long-term progression goals.

Looking at the aspects of your career that could be better in the face will help you begin the journey outside of your comfort zone.

3) Set small challenges or activities to get you started

What challenges can you plan for the short term to begin your journey outside the career comfort zone? Break free from the day to day and attend a conference or set aside some time for some self-training on something new. Set up a plan for this training so you can maintain these learned skills and start applying them to your day to day.

4) Who can you talk to?

Deciding to step out of the career comfort zone is probably the beginning of a future career decision. Is this what you want long term or is it time to start thinking about the next step?

A great way to navigate unfamiliar waters is to ask people who have sailed this boat before you. Ask colleagues or even your management team for advice on stepping outside your comfort zone and how you can supercharge your job. It’s often people who have reached your goals already who can be the biggest help!

5) What one thing would propel you out of the career comfort zone for the better?

It’s time to determine why you want to step outside of your comfort zone and start chasing this. Is it time to start a new job search? Or perhaps you want to take the next step within your current company?

Whatever it is, embrace it and start planning how you’re going to achieve it right now!

Strive for your career goals today We hope these five pointers will help you understand the importance of chasing your career goals, even if it means rocking the boat! It’s great to be comfortable in your job, but is it enough to fulfil your goals, both career and personal? The next time you think about your career comfort zone, ask yourself if it’s time to be brave.

What do you think?

Share your thoughts on this post - whether you agree, disagree or have your own insight to share, we want to hear from you!


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